Sick of the grind but want to advance your career? This option might be for you

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If you’re sick of the rat race and craving a new challenge, starting your own business might be the solution you’ve been looking for.

Many who’ve reached the pinnacle of their careers, but still yearn to advance say owning a business could be the ticket to professional satisfaction, according to a new Royal Bank of Canada survey. Two in three of those who already identify as entrepreneurs or hope to soon think small business ownership is an obvious path to career growth. It’s an even more enticing option for those mid-career, aged 35 to 54, with 71 per cent of them on board with the idea.

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It’s also a ticket to financial security, those surveyed said. Eighty-eight per cent think a side hustle can supplement their income amid the rising cost of living. Those heading for retirement are also keen to add cash flow via a side gig, with 78 per cent seeing it as a viable way to prepare for life in their golden years.

Besides earning extra money, the desire to escape the daily grind is also motivating a large swathe of aspiring business owners. Indeed, 94 per cent said they want to start a business so they can be their own boss, while 78 per cent see it as a way out of the typical 9-to-5 office job. Many even have a clear idea of what kind of business they want to launch, with 79 per cent planning to use a hobby as a jumping-off point for a business, the survey said.

“For many, entrepreneurship isn’t just a curious side hobby,” Don Ludlow, vice-president of Small Business, Partnerships & Strategy at RBC, said in a news release. “It signifies a forward-thinking approach to securing one’s financial future while advancing professionally.”

That sentiment may be of interest to employers. For one thing, having a lot of employees eager to strike out on their own might signal a change is needed in workplace culture. That could mean bosses will have to look at new ways of rewarding high-achieving employees, or risk losing them altogether.

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Alternatively, a rise in side hustles might also offer a clue to a company’s productivity problem — and could be a firing offence. “There is a tenuous balance to be struck between an employee’s outside aspirations and the legal duty owed to their primary employer,” legal expert Howard Levitt said. There is legal precedent to terminating employment if a side gig affects performance. It’s also within an employer’s rights to not permit moonlighting in the first place.

Still, don’t expect the prospect of getting fired to keep people from their entrepreneurial dreams. Nor should we want to discourage people from following such a path. Small businesses comprise 98 per cent of all companies, according to Statistics Canada, making them a vital part of the economy and a major source of employment. It follows that diversifying the small business landscape is a good thing, and RBC said an influx of younger entrepreneurs is doing exactly that.

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“Younger Canadians … are increasingly contributing to a more dynamic and diverse entrepreneurial ecosystem in Canada with their creativity, innovation and willingness to challenge traditional norms,” Ludlow said.

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